By: Matthew Behrndt
The NBA Draft is different compared to the popular NFL Draft for a few reasons. One reason is the excitement built up isn’t at the same level since the NFL is more popular with the masses. Secondly, after about the 10th pick in the second round most of the picks are long shots to even make the roster. That being said the NBA Draft is the second most watched draft behind the NFL and franchises can be reignited with one great pick. Below are my grades for the teams and thoughts on their draft picks.
Minnesota Timberwolves – Karl Anthony Towns and Tyus Jones – Grade: A
Minnesota had a big problem; size. They fixed that by getting a large man in Towns who is capable of hitting jumpers and even free throws. Towns will be learning under the great Kevin Garnett on how to groom his game and take it to the next level. Tyus Jones is also a solid pick with already having Rubio as the starter. Jones is a solid backup that will help give Rubio rest and should be effective offensively off the bench.
Los Angeles Lakers – D’Angelo Russell, Larry Nance Jr. and Anthony Brown – Grade: A-
The Lakers are in desperate need of talented players around an aging Kobe Bryant. They got arguably the best player in the draft in Russell who will contribute right away. He’s is a huge talent and could be the next big thing. This is going to excite Laker nation with his passing and scoring ability. Larry Nance Jr. out of Wyoming, the son of the dunk champion Larry Nance is a solid pick who will be a role player with his athletic ability off the bench. Brown is a good shooter from Stanford who has a solid chance of making the squad.
Philadelphia 76ers – Jahlil Okafor, Willy Hernangomez, Richaun Holms, Arturas Gudaitis, J.P. Tokoto and Luka Mitrovic – Grade: B-
The 76ers had the most picks in this year’s draft and they used only one well. They went and got the last top 3 player in the draft. Even though they already have good depth at center you can’t pass up on a talent like Okafor. He has the most rounded post game out of all the postmen and will be looking to start the first game as Embiid is still a question mark. For the rest of the players drafted they got more size which they didn’t need. They also got Tokoto who is a top athletic talent in this draft and has a real shot at making the squad as a defensive specialist.
New York Knicks – Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant – Grade: B
Knicks fans aren’t happy, but maybe they shouldn’t be so quick to judge. Porzingis isn’t going to make an immediate impact and may not make an impact at all. However, he could be the next great European talent and turn out to be a great pick and make Phil Jackson look really good. Grant will also make an immediate impact as a defender and shooter and will be competing for some solid minutes.
Orlando Magic – Mario Hezonja and Tyler Harvey – Grade: C+
The Magic have been notorious to not be great at drafting. This year they drafted a tall solid mature shooter from Europe who can help balance the floor with Oladipo and Peyton who are more of slashers. Harvey led the NCAA in scoring and will add a new dimension to an already quick fast-paced team. In all, nothing exciting but Hezonja has a high ceiling and could really help a struggling shooting Orlando team.
Sacramento Kings – Willy Cauley-Stein – Grade: B-
So much speculation around the Kings with tension with Karl and Cousins and the drafting of Stein doesn’t help alleviate the situation at all. Stein is primarily a defensive threat with little to no offensive game and with a team that struggled to score inside even with Cousins, this pick seems a little of a reach.
Denver Nuggets – Emmanuel Mudiay and Nikola Radicevic – Grade: B+
The Nuggets already have a talented starting five but with Lawson seemingly moving on, Mudiay fits right in to what they are trying to do. Mudiay has the potential to be great with his size and athletic ability he should do very well in this league. Radicevic will be solid off the bench as he should be the back up point guard.
Detroit Pistons – Stanley Johnson and Darrun Hilliard – Grade: B-
Johnson is a winner but his size has worked to his benefit in both high school and college. He needs to work on his shooting but he is good defensively and knows how to get to the rim. Hilliard is a shooter that will make a impact off the bench.
Charlotte Hornets – Frank Kaminsky – Grade: C
The Hornets needing shooting badly and Winslow was still on the board. Kaminsky can shoot but he struggles defensively. He has good low post offensive skills but it will be tougher against more athletic big men. His greatest asset is the ability to stretch the floor.
Miami Heat – Justice Winslow and Josh Richardson – Grade: A
The Heat and the brilliance of Pat Riley are at it again getting a top-5 talent with the 10th overall pick. Not only did they get a good player but he fits perfectly into their system and will work harder than anyone. Winslow will also get guidance from Wade as the torch is going to be passed on. Richardson will be a good defensive impact player off the bench.
Indiana Pacers – Myles Turner and Joseph Young – Grade: B
It’s weird to say but Young helped raise the grade for the Pacers. Turner is a good player but he’s not a top-15 talent. He has good defense but really needs to work on his offensive game. Young who was the Pac-12 Player of the Year could light up the scoreboard at any minute. He has great shooting ability and will be a threat off the bench.
Oubre is a solid player who struggled with hustle at Kansas. If he works as hard as he did at the end of the year he will be a good edition to a talented Wizards squad complementing Beal and Wall.